5 of the Many Ways to Use the Ok Hand Symbol (That Isn’t Hate Speech)

The Ok hand symbol has come under some flack in the last couple of years.  It is only due to the fact that the Anti-Defamation League has deemed it to be a symbol of hate.  I mean the symbol is used in many different ways throughout history and it’s as simple as putting your finger and thumb together.  Literally, that is it.  So why are people so afraid of it now a days?

A brief history of the Ok symbol

In the first Hindu and Buddhist holy words the symbol is called mudra or vitraka mudra.  This means that the ancient yoga teachers pretty much used the Ok symbol to mean enlightenment or inner perfectionThat’s pretty positive a statement, right?
Moving on, if we go to its usage in the 17th century Great Britain, we see it used as a symbol of consent or approval.  It isn’t even until around the early 1800s that it is more and more associated with the word “Ok” which is what we consider it to mean in todays modern usage.

 Here is where it gets dodgy

Around 2017 the trolls down at 4chan started using it as a hoax to trick people into thinking it is a symbol of hate.  This wasn’t very hard to do because if you look closely at the ok symbol it kind of looks like a “w” and a “p.”  4chan was able to convince people it stood for “white power” in hopes of getting liberals to believe it was a symbol of hate.  Of course…this worked. Too well.


pepe the frog also becomes a symbol of the alt-right

According to the story, the 4chan trolls plan backfires.  A few Alt-right groups actually do pick up the Ok symbol and consequentially what transpires is an intentangled web of confusion. At this point in 2019 nobody knows who is using it for what:

  • satirically
  • spiritually
  • linguistically
  • racist-ly

or what….

Since everybody already uses this symbol without any racist context whatsoever, it confused the hell out of us when seemingly overnight the ADL banned it altogether by turning it into hate-speech with widespread consequences. Yes in our modern era we can’t use a common symbol that everybody uses because of fear of being labeled racist.  

  Is this just like when the media tried to make milk racist?

The Ok symbol, however continues to confuse people. Do you remember the guy who is being investigated for doing the symbol at the Cubs games? What about the Cadets at the army-navy games?

In this article I want to take a look at the many different uses of the Ok symbol that go beyond simple racism and maybe, just maybe we can get our beloved symbol back.

1)Here is a picture of some hokey Hindu god sporting the ok hand symbol when it meant Inner peace.

2)Scuba Diving Ok Symbol

When you go diving you can’t speak.  For one, you are wearing face mask and number two, you’re freakin under water.  In order to communicate divers use a series of hand gestures.  One of them being…you guessed it. The ok symbol.

3)Before Iphones were allowed at school, we had the Circle game.

The finger game using the ok symbol

I remember this game oh so well.  I got a lot of time in on this game back in high school. So here is how it works……

  1.   It consists of two or more players.
  2. One of the players makes a circle with his hand below the waist.
  3. He attempts to get the player to look at  his hand while making the symbol.
  4.  If the person looks at the hand he gets a punch.
  5. If the “looker” can stick his finger through the hole before getting the punch then he breaks the circle game and thus doesn’t receive a punch.

It’s a brilliant game and hours of fun.

4) Famous people use it to mean Ok

Like I said before, people use this symbol a lot.

Beyonce at some awards show.

It kind of throws everybody a fast ball when all of a sudden it has a new meaning.

Eddie Murphy

Does it mean that everybody should stop using it?

Ronald Reagan Obama and Paul Mccartney

Gestures and physical symbols can be used as a form of linguistic tool when words won’t suffice.

Lil Wayne and the Ok Symbol

This British guy uses it.

Michael Jackson loves to let everybody know how much he loves the Ok Symbol

5) The American Sign Language symbol for “F”


American Sign Language "F"
Jen Zwick

Despite all of these facts there are still people today that are going to make an uproar about it.

Despite all the hate (of the ok symbol) it is a beloved and cherished artifact of our non verbal language.  Before you let yourself get triggered to the point of no return just ask yourself: If you let the hate groups claim our beloved “Ok” symbol doesn’t it set a precedence. You know. That they can come in and take whatever they want? So keep your dignity and don’t the white power terrorists win!

Written by Burrito Mussolini

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